Marvin Cohen’s poems
By: Marvin Cohen
Plunged into Death, You’re in a Fix.
You and the World Are No Longer a Mix.
Your Adherence Is Guaranteed: Death Sticks.
You’re Precisely One of Many It Picks.
If death is my worst enemy,
fight it, or it’s the end of me.
Steer yourself away from its ominous breath
that breaks your lungs apart
to emit corrupt decadence like a fart.
You’ll be hauled away in a cemetery cart
and placed in a pre-prepared grave
and condemned to be a former knave,
now doomed as non-existence’s slave
on a permanent eternal basis,
having run all your last races
to total loss and annihilation,
retired from work for a pure vacation
shorn of merriment and elation,
shuffled unceremoniously to the next station,
where your consciousness is so absent
that useless brains have no facts sent
from the world in any enactment
of conscious participation in full sense
to tell apart your dollar from its cents.
From your body issues cemetorial scents.
Dismal are your chances for a recompence.
There’s no “you” to disappear anywhere
except the pure ozone of an uncanny nowhere.
by Eliminating Thought Itself
from My Brain’s Upper Shelf
and Restoring Me to My True Confused Self.
My mind is twisted in chaos
and loses its own process.
It seems to have lost its mind
beyond rescue’s capacity to find.
This puts me in a mental bind.
In self-defense, I’ve outlined
a plan to restore my mind
purified of its endless grind
by emptying it of the curse of thought
that first all this chaos brought
and makes me helplessly distraught
in such coils that can’t be fought.
Should I think only what I ought?
Then my mind is riddled into naught.
The mental police will have me caught
and punish me into a state of fraught
where my mental liberty is forbiddingly unbought.
In youth, this was never to me taught.
My thought then was eagerly free
and devoid of demeaning complex,
thinking simply of food and sex.
Changing Attitude Toward Parents
Who Were Doomed to Become My Only Phantoms
After They Filled My Mind with Their Anthems.
Being born in helpless thrall
to parental mercy,
I learned to obey mother and father.
Obedience was worth all that bother.
But then the age of rebellion came,
and I was almost banned from the family name.
My parents used me as the one to blame
for all the misfortune they had to endure.
Their former infant, me, was no longer considered pure.
The tyranny of their judgment was uttered so sure.
Now it’s arrived that I’ve outlived them,
and the fading blossom has been plucked from the stem.
Issued from my parents, what’s become of me?
It’s become trans-PARENT that I’m still not free.
The baby that I was, still babbles on,
but neither parent is left to realize that I won.
I’m practically weightless at this realization to stun.
Actually, I’m a father now.
That achievement had burdened my peaceful brow
to the point that even psychology doesn’t allow.
Throughout the generations, I prepare my careful bow,
and adore my wife, more than just a housefrau,
who converts my lost agony into a steadier Now.
Take It to or from the Same Me.
If you get too far away from something, you’ll get nearer
to being a disappearer
from what you got away from.
The closer you get to an object,
you’re almost about to merge, unless you object.
Distance is very important.
If you’re too far away,
distance widens and increases its distance
till you don’t see it in an instance.
It’s practically invisible, for instance.
East, west, south, and north
either recede us, or bring us forth.
North, south, east, and west
compete in distance. Who’s the best?
North, south, west, and east—
which is reduced for being the least?
East, west, north, and south:
Are they nearer or further from my describing mouth?
—depending, of course, on “where,”
which is as close as the market will bear.
Thus I wield a compass
and feel more compos mentis
to get my bearings—exit or entrance.
I go anywhere, in my own defense.
Nor do I need to cause anyone offense.
Rather, above the fence I’ll neutrally stick,
survey the whole scene, and have my pick.
The Following Requires Concentration
to Allow Meaningful Interpretation
and Not Aimless Vacillation.
It’s Subject to Nobody’s Arbitration.
The world’s at people’s disposal.
So what’s your proposal?
Anything’s open to us,
but the options have to be dwindled down
till a decision is forced
into a narrow funnel
leading into a conclusive tunnel
all the more squeezed in
by impactful concussion
rendering harmless any further discussion,
which is inconsequentially accidental
and arbitrarily temperamental.
A cavity filled can only be dental?
But a wistful wishfulness is loosely mental
and too offsides to be truly central.
The target’s eye of course would be the essential.
Everybody flees from the penaltential
and clings to his imperative credential.
Marvin Cohen is the author of numerous novels, plays, and collections of short pieces, including Sadness Corrected: New Poems and Dialogues; Run Out of Prose; Women, and Tom Gervasi; Inside the World: As Al Lehman; The Self-Devoted Friend; Others, Including Morstive Sternbump; and Baseball as Metaphysics. He lives in New York City.